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Fir Vale School Academy Trust


We are a mainstream converter academy with 11-16 provision.

Fir Vale School is an expanding, culturally diverse, inclusive, community comprehensive school with approximately 1004 students. The racially harmonious learning climate is excellent with consistent high expectations, providing outstanding teaching and learning within modern 21st Century buildings. Our students show a consistent willingness to learn.

We have a commitment to creating a personalised curriculum tailored to meet the diverse needs of the school community and a strong focus on further improving the quality of teaching and learning which is driven by rigorous appraisal.

Mutual respect is at the centre of everything we do, we forge effective and supportive relationships with both students and adults in our learning community.  Together we maximise every opportunity to achieve success for all, inspiring students to achieve excellent academic progress.

Who to contact

School Website

Where to go

Fir Vale School Academy Trust
Fir Vale School
Owler Lane
S4 8GB

When is it on?

Time / Date Details
Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and fraquent saturday schools.
Time of day
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Inclusion Information

Wheelchair Access
Cater for special dietary requirements
Dietary needs catered for
Nut allergy
Supports special needs and disabilities
Special needs and disabilities experience
Social, emotional and mental health needs
Medical Needs or long term illness
Speech, Language & Communication needs
Visual impairment
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulty
Severe Learning Difficulty
Hearing impairment
Moderate Learning Difficulty
Physical Disability/Mobility Issues
Able to accommodate other cultures/ethnicities
Culture/ethnicities accommodated

Other Details

Age Range
11 years to 16 years
  • Disabled Facilities
  • Sensory Room
  • Quiet Area
  • Visual aids

Local Offer

Contact Name
Mr Dougal Partington
Contact Telephone
0114 2439391
Contact Email
School Online Prospectus
Ofsted Inspection Report
Ofsted Performance Data
Local Offer Age Bands
Secondary (11-16 years)
SEN Provision Type

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

Please state the number of pupils on your roll and your average class size 

On roll…1004

Average class size… 22

How does the setting identify learners with SEN? 

We have rigorous systems in place for identifying students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Firstly; our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) meets at least every half term with the family of feeder schools’ SENCOs. We also have specifically designed SEN transition documents and SEN transition meetings. Many students who are on the SEN register at primary transfer straight onto our register, unless the primary school and or parents suggest otherwise.

Students start year 7 in ability sets created using all the available KS2 transition information and then during the first 4 weeks at Fir Vale all students complete the following assessments:

CATS, LASS, spelling age, reading age, unaided writing. ELD students have a full ELD assessment. This data and evidence from the class teachers and the SEN transition information is then used to fine tune our setting by the second half term in Y7. It can also help to identify students who may have slipped through the net, who have a Special Need.

At any point, any member of staff can easily refer a student to our team if they suspect a Special Need. This referral may come following a lack of progress or even if the professional has a ‘hunch’ that a Special Need may be presenting barriers to learning. Following a referral we can carry out our own assessments for MLD or SPLD or refer to the agencies who work regularly with us for VI, HI, ASD, ADHD,SLCN. Parents are also involved in this process.

Is your setting physically accessible to all learners? 

There are two buildings, both of which are fully wheelchair accessible.

We have a sensory break out space. Classrooms are tested for acoustics. All classrooms have interactive whiteboards.

We use visual aids such as visual timetables.

We have a fully resourced and operational Learning Zone for SEND students and staff. This is secured through the academy budget, internal priorities, bids and higher Needs funding.

We have disabled changing and toilet facilities, including hoists and staff trained in handling.

We provide a quiet / safe space including Time Out cards; timetabled support; Ocean Room, LZ.

If learners cannot cope with a noisy dining hall and need a quiet place there is  a reserved table in our smaller bistro.

How does your setting adapt the curriculum for learners with SEND? 

At Fir Vale the ethos that every teacher is a teacher of SEND, ELD and literacy is fully embedded. Teachers adapt schemes and lessons to meet the needs of the sets they teach. Every teacher is fully aware of the needs of the individuals in all their classes.

Students in our supported sets, who have lower levels of academic attainment and literacy and /or SEND, are taught a literacy rich curriculum, in smaller classes with additional support.

In addition to the in class support we offer an extensive list of withdrawal interventions led by trained staff and external specialists. This list includes:

Nurture; Confidence; Bereavement; Social Circle Time; SpLD/Dyslexia; Relaxation/Health; SLCN; Maths; Literacy; Anger Management; Lego Therapy; Theraplay; Social Communications.Phonics, reading comprehension.

What training have your staff received to support learners with SEND? 

Every whole school training day has included SEND, ELD, and Literacy training on the agenda for the past 2 years and will continue to do so.

All staff are trained in basic literacy and phonics techniques, ASD, safeguarding and have easy access to all the SEND information about pupils in their classes. When any teacher looks at their register all this information is accessible via a click.

For over 12 months  we have held training on specific areas of SEN on a weekly basis, this training is accessed by all the Learning Zone staff and is also well attended by staff from all departments.

We access specialist expertise very regularly for VI, HI, ASD, SLCN, SPLD.

How do you communicate with and involve families? 

In 2014 we held our first Parents meet the SEND professionals. It was attended by over 80 families and at the meeting 90 parents signed up for the ensuing parent workshops on;: SPLD, ASD, SLCN, ADHD, Reading, Writing, Emotional well-being.

This meeting is now an annual event open to all parents of students on the SEND register. In addition parents and students are involved in the review process. Up until September 2014 all SA plus and Statemented students had an annual review in addition to ad hoc meetings, and calendared parents evenings. In line with the new code of practice we are now reviewing this process.

Our information is sent out in several languages and we have interpreters available at all review meetings where they are needed.

How does the setting evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for learners with SEN and how often does it do this? 

The SENCO has written a rolling 3 year SEN action plan which is reviewed and updated monthly. Every single SEN intervention is reviewed for progression after a set period, usually half termly. This includes data such as reading age gains, English levels as well as more qualitative measures of overall well-being.

The SENCO reviews KS3 and KS4  SEND progress with SLT at least 3 times per year and gives a presentation to governors annually. The SENCO also annually reviews the KS4 exam results for SEND students.

What support do you provide for the learners' overall wellbeing? 

How do you monitor and provide support for the social and emotional wellbeing of learners?

Monitor  - ‘Wrap around’ meetings; staff dialogue; reviews; parent meetings; referral system; intervention requests; records; group work.

Support - SSOs; LMs; SEN team; Behaviour Support worker; whole school staff; Health drop-in sessions; Counselling; Consultants.

How do you teach disability awareness to learners?

 Assemblies; tutor time; individual programmes; 1:1 chats.

How do you help learners who struggle to make friends?

Group work; clubs; individual programmes.

How do you support vulnerable learners during unstructured periods?

 Group work; LSAs; 1:1.

How do you support learners for whom school is a cause of anxiety?

Outside agencies; dual registered; home-school links; small group work sessions.

What kind of behavioural interventions do you use? 

Every member of staff in school is trained in and uses our assertive discipline policy and strategies.

The SEND team works closely on a daily basis with the pastoral team to help remove or reduce barriers to learning experienced by students who have issues with their behaviour or emotional well- being.

We have Learning Mentors, Student Support Officers, form teachers, counselling services, peer mentoring and a specialist ASD/behaviour consultant.

We also have a system which allows internal exclusion as an alternative to exclusion.

How do you ensure learners with SEND are included in non-classroom based activities? 

Are learners with SEND able to access all of the activities and how will the setting assist them to do so?

Yes, full access to all activities including school camp and outdoor adventure sports. - LSA support; small groups. Parental involvement.

How do you involve parent/carers in planning activities and trips?

 Letters home; regular school newsletters; school website; parent’s info meetings for trips.

Do you offer Breakfast Clubs, After School Clubs or Holiday Clubs? Please specify. 

We offer Breakfast Clubs, After School Clubs and Holiday Clubs.

How do you consult with and involve learners in their education? 

We support our students and enable them to contribute through: SEND reviews, School Council, House Councils; Form Captains; Head Boy/Girl; Prefects; tutor time. We recently had 2 members of the advocacy team come and give training to our SEN and pastoral team.

Do you have an online prospectus? Are there open days for families and learners? 


Do you offer outreach to home educating families? 

This is something we would arrange on a case by case basis.

Does your setting offer any additional services for learners with SEND? 

Off-site provision/dual registration; Vision to Vocation learners also have a vocational placement once per week.

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